Zenith Bank Plc has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to fund the development of a smart portal named SMARTAfCFTA with $1 million,aimed at unlocking the vast opportunities for trade within the African continent.
The MoU was signed by Ebenezer Onyeagwu, the group managing director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, and the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, during the 8th Annual Edition of the Zenith Bank International trade seminar on non-oil export themed “Nigerian Non-Oil Export Industry:The Present, The Future”, held recently at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The leading multinational financial service provider said SMARTAfCFTA is a single portal for trade information that is designed to provide information like trade indicators, market trends, custom tariffs, trade agreements, rules of origin, market access requirements of relevant jurisdictions, export potentials, export diversification indicators and contact details of business partners in target markets and other trade-related information about Africa.
Speaking on the partnership with AfCFTA for the development of the SMARTAfCFTA Portal, Onyeagwu said the collaboration aims to foster intra-African trade and unlock the vast opportunities presented by AfCFTA,not only for Nigeria’s economic prosperity but also for advancing trade across African countries.
The Zenith Bank CEO explained that the MOU between Zenith Bank will be for the bank to develop the smart AfCFTA portal which is going to serve as a trade portal that will showcase African products and services where they can be found.
Highlighting the capabilities of the portal and how it will impact trade in Africa, he said, “With the development of this portal, one of the capabilities we are going to build in there is that you can see it in every part of Africa and market your products and services. You can see it in every part of Africa and identify whatever products and services you require that are in Africa.
On his part,Wamkele Mene, the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, commended Jim Ovia, the founder and chairman of Zenith Bank,for partnering with the AfCFTA for the development of the SMARTAfCFTA Portal.
According to Mene, “Zenith Bank was the first bank to say “we want to partner with you”. We went to see the Founder and Chairman, and he said that Zenith Bank wants to make a contribution to digitise trade in Africa. And so the portal was not my idea, it was not our idea at the AfCFTA Secretariat, it was Zenith Bank that stepped up and said, ‘this has to be done! So I want to thank you very much, GMD, for this collaboration.”